Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Great session today everyone!

Hi everyone. I felt pretty excited by the possibilities implied by today's session with Rod Bamford on rapid prototyping basic letterforms for use in our new brief. I got the sense that this was the same for most of you as well. Make sure you get the tutorial from the transit folder and continue to develop and refine your design.

It's important now to take the time to read the brief and familiarise yourself with what we are going to embark upon. You now have the basic information to develop your 3D model. I encourage you to complete this as soon as possible. I am meeting with Rod and Richard (from the printery) tomorrow to thrash out the details of how to output the files. I will post the information to you before the end of the week via the blog.

As promised I have also posted a new online lecture and it's associated discussion point. You'll find the lecture here. Please read it and write a response to the DISCUSSION POINT at the end. Post it to the blog as instructed. The lecture is a timely introduction to publication style sheets. this applies equally to print and web based publications so I am sure you will find it relevant to our new brief - to design an online magazine.

Finally, inspired by my recent post that included the 3D graffiti, Lauren has kindly shared an interesting video she found on Vimeo. It's well worth a look and a nice way to end off our work today. Please enjoy.

Graffiti Analysis 2.0: Digital Blackbook from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to Week 5 :) There's lots happening!

As you are probably aware Sydney Design Festival is now drawing to a close. With that in mind have a look at this link to information about a pop up Letterpress Studio that featured as part of London Design Festival in 2009. Awesome initiative!

Welcome back. Well - we are well into the process of printing Project 1 by now. I trust you are continuing to enjoy the process. I've had brief conversations with some of you and this seems to be the case. Great!

As I posted last week we are planning to hold a workshop about rapid prototyping next week (Week 6) with Rod Bamford.

If you've looked at the Course Schedule you can see we are deviating a little form the original plan but there are logistical reasons for this. In any case the lab is scheduled to proceed next week.
The computer lab booking is for next Wednesday morning:
F206C is booked for Wed 24 August 9am-12noon.
It holds 14 students so we'll have to share. PLEASE be prompt.

This means that we'll be more flexible with the deadline for Project 1 to ensure everyone has the opportunity to finalise their prints to their satisfaction. Lauren will discuss this with you.

We will also begin next week to think about the second project in the elective - the collective collaborative task of designing an online publication. If you haven't already begin to check out the brief and do drop over to have a look at some of the earlier publications produced by students from this elective - just to get the creative juices flowing.

Finally next week we will begin the series of online lectures that are released weekly over the remainder of the semester. So - like I said  - LOTS happening. Stay tuned. See you next week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Welcome back - Week 4! Time is flying by.

Not strictly 'typography" but this rapid prototype of some wildstyle graffiti could get your imagination going...learn more here.

Hi everyone. I hope the week is progressing well for you all and the studio is buzzing with activity.

The posts about typefaces are continuing to appear, and they are overall pretty great! I love the humour creeping into some posts. Fantastic stuff.

Last week I mentioned that I was in the process of organisng a computer lab for the purposes of exploring and creating rapid prototypes to be used in Project 2 (hence my image and link above). I can now report that I have the lab and the lecturer lined up to deliver a workshop in WEEK 6 (take note).

The Computer Lab 206C is booked for Wed 24 August 9am-12noon. It holds 14 students and although I know there are more of you, I think the best strategy will be to share a computer. Having someone to discuss, compare and solve issues will be very helpful. Rod Bamford will be conducting the session and Lauren and I will be there also. Should be great, and I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from it. The files will then be output via the Printing Section in F Block. I am still defining the details, cost of the material etc. and will advise as soon as I can about those aspects of the activity.

As you know, this week's focus continues to be the acquisition of skills in the Letterpress Studio and the continued development of your response to Project 1:

Studio: Letterpress technique. Continue composition and printing of letterpress booklet.
Self-Directed: Refine selected designs for printing in next class.

Wondering a bit about the history of Letterpress? I stumbled across this last week and thought I'd post it - it's a nice summary.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

VAG Rounded, a variation on 19th century grotesque sans-serif designs, also known as VAG Rundschrift, which means ‘round writing’ in German, is a font designed for Volkswagen AG in 1979 by Gerry Barney and refined by other creative and art directors of Volkswagen AG. The distinctiveness of the typeface would be that the terminal of every stroke is rounded and in the days the typeface was designed the rounded typeface didn’t exist.

When Volkswagen bought Auto Union in 1964, and the dealer organization of Volkswagen and Audi, which was the main brand of Auto Union, merged in the early 1970s, Volkswagen AG had to re-think their future strategy: bring all their organization, services and activities all under one branded umbrella.

At the time of the merger, Volkswagen was using Futura and Audi was using Times for their corporate typeface. For the fairness to the both parties the new typeface should not be sans serif or serif as the Futura or the Times and as rounded typeface didn’t exist that time it had to be designed. The design had to be rendered by hand until the design was finalised and perfected on the computer. In 1978, Volkswagen AG began trading as V.A.G using VAG rounded font for all their graphic materials except its logo because of the font was not available throughout the world at the time.

Today the VAG Rounded is available widely licensed by Adobe Systems in four different stroke weight, VAG Rounded Std Thin, VAG Rounded Std Light, VAG Rounded Std Bold and VAG Rounded Std Black where former is lighter than the latter respectively. Because of its rounded termini, the font adds the feature of soft and friendliness, therefore it is being widely used by companies when designing brand for their corporate image. For example, in Australia, Big W has changed their logo from being written in Helvetica Neue to VAG Rounded and Dick Smith use the font in their advertising materials.

Also with beginning of the Web 2.0, it is becoming a trend to use rounded fonts like VAG Rounded for its simplicity and friendliness of the web design and now almost becoming a cliché of web designs. The most familiar place for us designers to find the font would be on the keyboard of Apple MacBook series. Apple Inc. applied the typeface on their keyboard for notebook computers since 1999.

In comparison to Helvetica Rounded which is one of many rounded fonts being utilised today along with VAG Rounded, Vag Rounded has more simplified strokes making it easier to read and when it is bolded, VAG Rounded is not too heavy like Helvetica Rounded, which is better when enlarged to be used for headlines and titles.



Someone had to do it.

The typeface Helvetica is one of the most widely used and influential sans serif typefaces in the world. Some consider Max Miedinger, the creator of Helvetica to be God. Some people have physically tattooed the word onto their skin to show their eternal love and vast appreciation for the typeface. However it does comes with some extreme baggage. According to the website “our environment is over-saturated with the use of Helvetica. Some have even suggested that Helvetica is a complete design cop-out” – Dirk+Weiss. “Most people who use Helvetica, use it because it’s ubiquitous. It’s like going to McDonald’s instead of thinking about food. Because it’s there, it’s on every street corner, so let’s eat crap because it’s on the corner.” – Erik Spiekermann.

Nevertheless Max Miedinger changed the world of design forever. In 1957 in Switzerland he and Eduard Hoffmann set out to design a new sans serif font to compete with the Swiss typography at the time. They aimed to create a typeface, which had no fundamental meaning, was entirely neutral, simple and could be applied anywhere and everywhere. It was originally known as Neue Haas Grotesk, with its design based on Schelter Grotesk and Haas’ Normal Grotesk yet was changed in 1960 to Helvetica in attempt to make it more marketable worldwide. The word Helvetica is Latin for Swiss and Helvetia is Latin for Switzerland. Hoffmann decided it would be inappropriate to name a typeface after a country and therefore went with Helvetica.

In general, the anatomy of the standard typeface Helvetica is significantly consistent. However it differs throughout the many variations of the typeface; Helvetica Std, Helvetica Light, Helvetica Light Oblique, Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, Helvetica Neue Thin, Helvetica Neue Light, Helvetica Neue Roman, Helvetica Neue Medium, Helvetica Neue Bold, Helvetica Neue Heavy and Helvetica Neue Black. One example is Helvetica Neue Light. It’s letter form is influenced by the stem stroke weight and the proportiante height of the letter is determined by the size of the cross bar (if any) and of the letterform based on specific units of measurements.

Helvetica is taking over the world. It is internationally used amongst some of the world’s most successful advertising campaigns within companies such as Apple, American Airlines, BMW, Target, Panasonic, Coca Cola, and even Microsoft. It is also used by the American Government and NASA. Furthermore Helvetica is the primary typeface of many major transport systems. The question is, where has Helvetica not been applied in today's world.

There are not many typefaces that hold international designer in-house jokes and comical proclamations such as “I’m gonna get a tattoo that says Helvetica written in Arial. When a woman corrects me on it, I’ll marry her.” Furthermore the popular iPhone application where you are challenged under time to tell the difference between Helvetica and Arial.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Garamond is a group of old-style serif typefaces. All of these are named after the punch-cutter Claude Garamond(ca. 1480–1561). Although they are named after Garamond, most fonts are closer in appearance to the work of Jean Jannon.

Garamond is considered to be among the most readable serif typefaces; the letterform has a sense of fluidity and consistency. The small bow of the “a” and the small eye of the “e” are some of the unique characteristics. Additionally, long extenders and top serifs have a downward slope. The typeface is one of the most eco-friendly fonts when it comes to ink usage.

At the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, “Original Garamond” was introduced. The typeface was actually based on the work of Jean Jannon. After that, many foundries began to cast similar types, beginning a wave of revivals that would continue throughout the 20th century.

Garamond-style fonts:

Stempel Garamond (D.Stempel AG, 1925)

This font remains true to the original Garamond types with old style characteristics. The small caps is an alternative to the standard capital letters and the bold italic weight is a modern addition. The font is on of the most frequently used text fonts in the world. Stempel Garamond is available in four weights with small caps, old style figures, and euro symbols.

Adobe Garamond™ (Robert Slimbach, 1989)

This is a relatively new interpretation of Garamond, designed by Robert Slimbach and is based on the original Garamond. The family has been expanded to include small caps, expert fonts, and calligraphic caps that were typical of the 15th and 16th centuries. Adobe Garamond is available in six weights with Small Caps, Old Style Figures, and Euro symbols.

ITC Garamond (Tony Stan, 1977)

There are only a few characteristics tying ITC Garamond to Claude Garamond’s work. American designer Tony Stan applied a completely new concept in composing the lower case letters of all cuts with a larger x-height. The legibility was improved and made ITC Garamond very popular in advertisements, manuals and handbooks. ITC Garamond is available in eight normal weights, plus an additional eight condensed weights, all with Euro symbols. In 1993, ITC Garamond was introduced, made by Edward Benguiat. This is a hand-tooled version of the black italic weights. This type is used for packaging, book jackets, and posters designs.

Simoncini Garamond (Francesco Simoncini, 1961)

This font was design to be true to the original.

Garamond #3 (Morris F. Benton, 1936)

This font appeared in 1936 and is based on Jean Jannon’s work. Garamond #3 is not an old style font like several other revivals. Garamond #3 is available in four weights, with Euro symbols.

Garamond Classico (Franco Luin, 1993)

This type is also based on the work of Jean Jannon. Like Garamond #3, Garamond Classico is not an old style font like several other revivals.

Sabon (Jan Tschichold, 1967)

Sabon is another version of Garamond. Produced for three foundrys: D.Stempel AG, Linotype and Monotype. They are extremely legible, elegant and classic. Sabon is used for text and headlines in books, magazines, advertisements, business reports, corporate design, multimedia and correspondence.

Sabon Next (Jan François Porchez)

This font is a revival of a revival. The design was a double challenge: to try discern Jan Tschichold’s own schema for the original Sabon, and to interpret the complexity of a design originally made in two versions for different typecasting systems.

The first was for use on Linotype and Monotype machines, and the second for Stempel hand compositions. Because the Stempel version does not have the constraints necessary for types intended for machine compositions, it seems closer to a pure interpretation of its Garamond ancestor. The new family is large and versatile – with Roman and italic in 6 weights from regular to black. Most weights also have small caps, old-style figures, alternates (swashes, ligatures, etc); and there is one ornament font with many lovely fleurons. The standard versions include revised lining figures that are intentionally designed to be a little smaller than capitals.

Garamond typefaces is very popular to use in books, all of the American editions of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter books are set in Adobe Garamond. All of them in twelve-point except Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it was longer than the others and was set in 11.5-points.

The Everyman's Library publication of The Divine Comedy is set in twelve-point Garamond.


Myriad is a relatively young typeface, conceived by American calligrapher and typeface designer Carol Twombly and Californian based type designer Robert Slimbach. Created for Adobe Systems released in 1992, Myriad is now the default typeface set in it’s applications, taking over from Helvetica, which resulted in high usage due to people leaving the font as the default. Myriad is classified as a humanist typeface and therefore has a more organic structure than geometric typefaces such as Futura and Century Gothic.

Myriad was intended to be an invisible, generic typeface. To achieve this, the two designers would exchange sketches to remove each others unique, strong characteristics so that the typeface could become as transparent as possible, free from either designer’s personal flair. Due to it’s simplicity, it is often compared to other simple humanist typefaces, especially Frutiger, which was created 20 years prior to Myriad.

Robert Slimbach was quoted in Adobe Magazine as saying “We wanted to make almost a totally invisible type of letter, just very generic… something that really didn’t show anyone’s personality too much” - jokingly known as ‘Generica’.

Myriad has a very uniform look, with perfectly straight stems, and flat ends. two distinguishing features of Myriad are the slanting e, and the descender on the y which has less of a curve than a lot of other sans serif typefaces. When Myriad was introduced, it was part of Adobe’s Multiple Master format, meaning that the 15 fonts that made up Myriad could have their weight and width axis changed to create hundreds of different weights of Myriad. OpenType has now replaced Adobe’s Multiple Master standard, and with it, Myriad is restricted to only a handful of fonts.

Myriad has enjoyed global popularity, being adopted by companies such as Woolworths and is one of two official typefaces at Cambridge University. Soon after Myriad’s debut, it was picked up by Eugene Mosier, art director of Wired Magazine, where it was heavily used. Mosier considered Myriad to be the “Volkswagen bug of typefaces”. Perhaps the most well known use of Myriad is by Apple Inc. who replaced Garamond with it in 2002, since then using it for almost everything, from marketing literature to product logos, such as the iMac, iPod and iPhone. Ironically, the open letter Steve Jobs released criticizing Adobe’s Flash platform was actually set in Myriad.

Myriad is a simple and elegant typeface, with a great amount of fonts making up the typeface, it makes for crisp, easy to read typography and allow the words to be read without influence from the typeface itself which has allowed it to be applied so widely.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome to Week 3 :) I hope you had a great weekend!

I am really pleased with your responses to the recent research task asking you to "select a typeface (eg: Helvetica) or a type-style (eg: Neo-Grotesque) on which you will focus in project 1. Collect a specimen for the type and write a 500 - word critique of its design."

It's already clear I think, that already from this task we have developed a really entertaining, comprehensive and informative compendium of information about typefaces that enjoy popular currency in graphic design and publishing contexts. The imagery is vibrant and the examples are relevant to our study area.

One caution - you will likely find that some of the type designs are in the Letterpress Studio collection and that you may therefore need to make decisions about what you can do with type that is available. None the less I think Project 1 will be an enjoyable (if challenging task).

Wondering how Letterpress relates to contemporary deployment of type? We know letterpress is kind of cool/trendy in recent years - sort of like the typographic equivalent of vinyl records - but how might it link to a more hi-tech application of typography. Have a look at this project on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter - very interesting...

The focus of this week is right on getting to grips with your design and the letterpress process in the studio. As expressed in the course notes it says:

Studio: Letterpress technique. Continue composition and printing of letterpress booklet.
Self-Directed: Refine selected designs for printing in next class.

Please Note: I am currently working out the details of our workshop designed to get you thinking about integrating 3D printing of a shape or letterform. The way this will happen is a session in a lab where the basics of generating a form will be covered by Rad Bamford. I will post more details as soon as possible.

Have a great week!

PS: If anyone is having trouble with the blog, not getting updates etc. (or any other aspect of the studio) please do get in touch so we can sort you out :)


Futura is a san-serif typeface composed of simple geometric forms (almost circles, triangles and squares) .It is praised for its minimalistic nature and functionality as a legible font as small sizes.

Designed in 1924 and commercially released in1927 by the German typographer Paul Renner, Futura embodied the beliefs and ideas presented by the Bauhaus movement. Although Renner wasn’t directly associated with the Bauhaus Movement, parallel fundamentals and a clear influence are represented in his clean finish and abolishment of decorative ornaments. The key phrase out of this era being “form follows function” is proof of the typeface’s ability to transcend time. Renner states that functional design should be “useable, efficient, but should also look good” 1.

Futura reflects this popular period of design, one that is forever prevalent in today’s society of modern design as well as highlighting the move from traditional handcrafted embellishment towards a contemporary industrialized period in design.
Futura’s cleanliness and sharp simple feel renders it very as a very useful headline type, however its effectiveness as a legible font at small sizes makes it also very popular for body text. Until recently the IKEA catalogue (the 3rd biggest publication in the world) incorporated Futura throughout the design, before being replaced by Verdana in 2010. Loyal Futura enthusiasts were outraged and even mustered up a 5000-word petition to have the font reinstated. IKEA announced that Verdana was a more universal font and could be applied to wider foreign alphabets.
Futura’s success is also clear as it was the
“first font to be present on the moon with this commemorative plaque” 2

Renner faced harsh opposition from Hitler’s Nazi party. He was even arrested after it was made apparent that Renner had a planned presentation at a type convention to publicly announce his views on the gothic script Fraktur, which was adopted by the Nazi Party. He did not conceal his views of this script which was an over embellished, heavily adorned serif typeface. He was removed from his profession and declared an enemy of the state for “national unworthiness”. In an ironic twist of fate the Nazi’s eliminated Futura from their regime denouncing it as a Jewish script.

In an ironic twist of fate the Nazi’s eliminated Futura from their regime denouncing it as a Jewish script and symbolizing the hatred of the Jewish race, however their motifs were fare from Renner’s rejection of the font

1 Paul Renner: The Art of Typography p.69 (1998) by Christopher Burke

2 Wikinevis: Futura vs. Verdana : The IKEA dilemma

3 Technical Communication (2000) by Charles Crawley!